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MPs Voted for a New Deadline for Transition to Digital Television: March 1, 2020

08 February 2018
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On Thursday, February 8, the Parliament approved in two readings the draft law proposed by the Government on extending the deadline for transition to digital terrestrial television until March 1, 2020. Media experts point out that transition to digital terrestrial television, an international commitment assumed by Moldova years ago, would mean a huge leap in the pluralistic information space, but that our country lags behind in this respect.
 
At the plenary meeting of the Parliament, Vitalie Tarlev, the State Secretary for Information Technology and Communications under the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, motivated extension of the deadline of transition to digital television by the fact that Moldova can transmit simultaneously in analog and digital formats as long as it does not disturb broadcasting in neighbor countries.
 
He added that by postponing transition, they also offer more time for citizens to purchase digital converter boxes and television sets able to receive the digital signal.
 
Vitalie Tarlev also informed MPs about the Government Decision of February 7, according to which disadvantaged families that have no TV sets able to receive the digital terrestrial signal will be provided with free devices to convert this signal.
 
Liberal MP Valerian Bejan asked about the measures that will be applied to those who caused the delay of transition.
 
Tarlev noted that the relevant state institutions, such as the state-owned company Radiocomunicatii, fulfilled their obligations regarding creation of the infrastructure for transmission of the digital terrestrial signal, but that they cannot force private media outlets to choose this method of transmission and reception of signals.
 
It should be mentioned that a number of media experts have criticized the Moldovan authorities’ postponing of transition to digital television.
 
Alexandru Dorogan, a member of the Electronic Press Association, wrote in an article for the magazine Mass Media in Moldova: “Today, EU Member States are in the environment of digital television, the terrestrial one included, the majority of them having switched by 2012, others by 2015. Transition to digital terrestrial television, assumed by more than 100 states in 2006 in Geneva, does not really leave room for exceptions, as there was one commitment for all the signatories. But not for the Republic of Moldova.”
 
At the same time, the expert drew attention to the benefits that the society could have if transition had already taken place. Here is what he said in the above article: “Transition to digital terrestrial television would be a great leap in the pluralistic information space. The digitization of the terrestrial signal could have created the possibility to broadcast and to receive 20-30 TV channels with national coverage, providing citizens with the huge opportunity to have this variety of channels to choose from, watch, judge, and have their own opinion. The essence of digital television is precisely this – bringing the advantages of the information society to every family.”